Maybe you’ve only accepted cash up until now, or perhaps you’ve been accepting plastic without giving the behind-the-scenes technology that makes credit card acceptance possible much thought. In either case, it’s helpful from a commerce perspective to take a deeper dive into what a credit card reader is and how it operates. Once you do, we predict that you will also see how this technology can be advantageous for your store.

Credit card readers 101.

In short, customers dip, swipe, tap, or place a card, wearable, or mobile device near a card reader to make purchases. In turn, the card reader receives the data and transmits it securely to the banks and card networks involved. Fraud detection software is used to determine a transaction’s legitimacy before it is approved and its funds are forwarded to the merchant. 

When a customer uses their “smart” EMV chip card, the reader communicates with a chip embedded in the card that contains the customer’s unique payment information. The data is dynamic, meaning that it is constantly changing to foil hackers’ attempts to steal it. While EMV card payments can be slightly slower due to their enhanced security checks, readers equipped to take contactless payments are just as secure while at the same time being faster and more efficient.

Then there is the near-field communication (NFC) technology that allows credit card readers to link to customers’ mobile devices for payments made via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and so forth. Any data transmitted is automatically encrypted and tokenized for safekeeping. To make a purchase, customers simply open their digital wallet, place their device near the reader, and authenticate their identity via facial recognition or a fingerprint.

The payments hardware you need to revolutionize your business.

While cash still has its place, it is becoming increasingly unpopular with customers. Instead of toting cumbersome coins and bills, shoppers prefer to pay using their debit and credit cards and, more recently, via their mobile devices. With a card reader, you can easily and affordably turn this trend to your advantage.

Card readers allow for fast, convenient, and secure payments. When most shoppers pay with plastic, checkout lines move more quickly and user errors are reduced. In the end, both customers and staff are happier. Combine that with the fact that people tend to spend more with credit cards, and the case for implementing card readers is rock solid.

These days, customers appreciate it when you offer maximum flexibility in the types of payments you accept. Card readers, including EMV and contactless varieties, offer the security and diversity of options that are invaluable in today’s fast-paced, safety-conscious payments landscape. In short, there is no time like the present to incorporate modern card readers into your business model.

Contact NAB today and see how easy it is to get the merchant services you deserve.


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